In what can only be describes as a medieval scene of violence a raging mob of thousands of anti-gay fascists led by orthodox priests in Tbilisi, Georgia descended upon a downtown rally designed to commemorate the May 17 International Day against Homophobia attacking LGBT participants and screaming. “Kill them! Tear them to pieces!” in the Georgian capital’s central Freedom Square.
The crowd consisting of mostly young men and orthodox priests — stormed through police barricades armed with stones, poles and other weapons,.
Tbilisi Police managed to get most of the LGBT activists into municipal buses, before angry protesters surrounded the vehicles threw stones and followed the buses as they pushed their way out of the square.
Some LGBT activist managed to seek asylum in a grocery store and police managed to fight off the mob that tried to break into the shop. While outside the square, a mob tried to storm a house, where several gay rights activists had sought refuge.
Few bystanders said or did anything to help the LGBT activists for fear of being targets but a few did speak out.
“Look at yourselves! You call yourselves Christians?” objected one elderly woman in tears, speaking from a balcony. “Go ahead, kill everyone you are told to hate in the name of God and national values.”
The anti-gay protesters had been spurred on by a statement issued by the head of the Georgian Orthodox church, Patriarch Ilia II, who compared homosexuality to a disease and called on the city mayor to ban the march..
Government officials from both the ruling Georgian Dream and President Mikheil Saakashvili’s minority National Movement condemned the violence and blamed each other’s policies for it.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had promised protection for the anti-homophobia march,
“There are people who can’t accept this, but we will do everything to protect the rights of any minority. That is what is going to happen in this case,” he said.
Afterwards, he said that the perpetrators of violence would be dealt with, and defended the action taken by the police. He said more than 2,000 police had been deployed to prevent trouble, but they were “overwhelmed” by several thousand anti-gay demonstrators.
Aleko Tskitishvili, director of the Human Rights Centre in Tbilisi, told reporters that “All those who are to blame for this tragedy must be identified and punished. Neither the priest’s cassock, nor the king’s crown nor the presidential chair should guarantee impunity.”
At least 17 people including journalist ere injured.
The BBC reports: